Response: Georgia & Verdana – typefaces for the screen –

It seems to me that many people do not understand that the fonts used in your documents are specifically designed for printing or use on a computer. Many fonts that look great on a printed page look fuzzy and ill defined on a computer screen.

The typefaces you normally read have been designed to be typeset digitally and printed on paper. But as more people read more type off computer screens, they’re unfortunately reading a type designed in another era for another medium. That’s why type on screen can look pathetic (especially so-called “italics” on the Mac) and is often painful to read.

But there is no simple way to know which fonts are optimised for screen reading – but here is is a handy list,

If you’re looking for existing faces that are easy-on-the-eyes, some of the best include: Avenir, Blueprint, PNM Caecilia, Gill Sans Book, ITC Legacy Sans, Lucida Fax, Lucida Sans, ITC Maiandra (excellent and casual), Memphis, Melior (or Bitstream’s well-hinted Zapf Elliptical), Myriad Multiple Master (you can tune the sizes yourself), Sassoon Sans, Serifa (my standard screen font), and Univers or Zurich (especially the extended version)

This article talks about how Georgia and Verdana are freely available from Microsoft for anyone to use. When you are making PDF files, or Web pages, you should consider these fonts when you can. Note that Arial is another screen-ready font.

In particular, the vendors continue to produce PDFs that have fonts intended for printing. That’s why reading Brocade & Juniper PDF files is so awful on a computer screen.

My eyes are getting older (like the rest of me) and I’d really appreciate if you could help me out by choosing easy to read fonts for the computer screen.

Thanks in advance.

via Georgia & Verdana – typefaces for the screen –

  • Michael McNamara

    Hi Greg,

    I agree with you 100% but what’s been annoying me recently is the column width of various sites. If you look at you’ll see the site is really narrow ~ 520px wide. That’s great for folks on a smartphone or maybe even a tablet but it’s plain annoying on a 1920×1080 display.

    I either end up scrolling needlessly to read the entire article or I end up using the “Zoom In” feature in Firefox to help make it legible (to me).